B U L L E T I N

PLEASE VISIT www.CenterforPluralism.com for all information

-----------------------------

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gender Pluralism:: Ending the gender binary

GENDER PLURALISM - ENDING THE GENDER BINARYURL -

As a humanitarian and a social scientist, I welcome this decision by the supreme court of India to include Transgender in "all men are created equal". We have ways to go, but this is a moment of celebration, celebrating the right to be who you are.

Mike Ghouse
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
# # #

Gender Pluralism:: Ending the gender binary
Courtesy of THE HINDU newspaper.

Chapal Mehra


BROAD DEFINITION: With the Supreme Court's verdict, gender has come to mean individual choice and experience rather than what is socially acceptable.


— Photo: Meeta Ahlawat BROAD DEFINITION: With the Supreme Court's verdict, gender has come to mean individual choice and experience rather than what is socially acceptable. 


 Challenging the dominant view

With this judgment, the Court has challenged the dominant view of gender identity. In a society that has focused on a binary, this is revolutionary. In this judgment, the court recognises that “individual experience” of gender is one of the most fundamental aspects of “self-determination, dignity and freedom.” Further the judgment relates the right to freedom of expression to one’s right to express one’s self-identified gender. Thus, the idea of gender is transformed from social acceptability to individual choice and experience.

The judgment is significant in many other ways as well. By ending the gender binary, the Court has opened the discussion on the rights of marriage, adoption and inheritance for the transgender community. The judgment also recognises the community’s position as a socially and economically backward category, and directs the state for appropriate affirmative action. More specifically, it directs the state to provide the community access to health services and even separate toilets.

For India’s transgender community, it is their first encounter with equality in a democratic framework. At the same time, this thoughtful, inclusive judgment is significant for all Indians, especially minorities. It comes at a time when India’s political parties are engaged in a vitriolic confrontation over minorities and their rights. The Court’s interpretation — of justice, equality, freedom and dignity and the role of the state — should remind our political class that the rights of Indian citizens, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation, are safeguarded by the Constitution. The judges quote Aristotle, Kant, Rawls and Amartya Sen to create a broader narrative on justice — something extremely relevant to this election.

Despite the euphoria, the judgement is not without problems. A broad sweep of identities neglects many identities. Also, the procedures for implementation lie with the States and the Centre. Interestingly, it also evades extensive comment on Section 377 which criminalises sex between homosexuals, which the judges term as a “colonial legacy.” It remains to be seen how this judgment will interact with the petition on Section 377, to be considered soon. Rationally, it will be difficult to give citizens the right to choose their gender but not the right to choose who they love. The Court’s decision on Section 377 will tell us whether the highest court in the land can live with deeply contradictory ideas of justice, freedom, and equality.

Yet, the process of change will now be irreversible. Just as law can manufacture intolerance, it can also create gradual social acceptance. Social attitudes may not transform overnight but Indian society only needs to look at its own history of inclusiveness. The transgender community was, until the advent of colonialism, a respected section of society. The Hindu Right should note that transgenders are mentioned in the Ramayana, and that it is Ram who gives them the power to bless important occasions such as childbirth and marriage. Also, Shiva’s Ardhanarishwar form is well-known and widely worshipped.

The role of the British

The tradition is not limited to Hinduism alone. Islamic, Jain and other cultures have also included the transgender community and other sexual minorities. The famous Sufi saint, Bulle Shah, dressed as a woman to please his master and often danced with eunuchs. Yet all this changed when India was colonised. The Indian Penal Code enacted by the British recognised only two genders, creating a binary that never existed.

Over time, these constructs were absorbed in Indian society. The community has since faced extreme forms of violence for not conforming to socially dictated gender identities. This violence often happens within families and communities, where transgenders face abuse, discrimination, disinheritance and abandonment. This judgment will hopefully begin to alter this in some measure.

Despite its many flaws and the incremental nature of this change, this is a moment of celebration not just for India’s transgender community or its sexual minorities but for all minorities. In a deeply fractured democracy, the Court has safeguarded the right to individual choice and freedom. It is reassuring for every Indian that despite our debasing politics, justice, equality and individual liberty — ideas that define India — will be safeguarded, and the right to choose our identity will go beyond the binary.

(Chapal Mehra in an independent New Delhi-based writer.) 

Gender Pluralism:: Ending the gender binary

GENDER PLURALISM - ENDING THE GENDER BINARYURL - http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/04/gender-pluralism-ending-gender-binary_21.html

As a humanitarian and a social scientist, I welcome this decision by the supreme court of India to include Transgender in "all men are created equal". We have ways to go, but this is a moment of celebration, celebrating the right to be who you are.

Mike Ghouse
www.FoundationforPluralism.com
# # #

Gender Pluralism:: Ending the gender binary

Courtesy of THE HINDU newspaper.

Chapal Mehra

 


BROAD DEFINITION: With the Supreme Court's verdict, gender has come to mean individual choice and experience rather than what is socially acceptable.


— Photo: Meeta Ahlawat BROAD DEFINITION: With the Supreme Court's verdict, gender has come to mean individual choice and experience rather than what is socially acceptable. 
 Challenging the dominant view

With this judgment, the Court has challenged the dominant view of gender identity. In a society that has focused on a binary, this is revolutionary. In this judgment, the court recognises that “individual experience” of gender is one of the most fundamental aspects of “self-determination, dignity and freedom.” Further the judgment relates the right to freedom of expression to one’s right to express one’s self-identified gender. Thus, the idea of gender is transformed from social acceptability to individual choice and experience.

The judgment is significant in many other ways as well. By ending the gender binary, the Court has opened the discussion on the rights of marriage, adoption and inheritance for the transgender community. The judgment also recognises the community’s position as a socially and economically backward category, and directs the state for appropriate affirmative action. More specifically, it directs the state to provide the community access to health services and even separate toilets.

For India’s transgender community, it is their first encounter with equality in a democratic framework. At the same time, this thoughtful, inclusive judgment is significant for all Indians, especially minorities. It comes at a time when India’s political parties are engaged in a vitriolic confrontation over minorities and their rights. The Court’s interpretation — of justice, equality, freedom and dignity and the role of the state — should remind our political class that the rights of Indian citizens, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation, are safeguarded by the Constitution. The judges quote Aristotle, Kant, Rawls and Amartya Sen to create a broader narrative on justice — something extremely relevant to this election.

Despite the euphoria, the judgement is not without problems. A broad sweep of identities neglects many identities. Also, the procedures for implementation lie with the States and the Centre. Interestingly, it also evades extensive comment on Section 377 which criminalises sex between homosexuals, which the judges term as a “colonial legacy.” It remains to be seen how this judgment will interact with the petition on Section 377, to be considered soon. Rationally, it will be difficult to give citizens the right to choose their gender but not the right to choose who they love. The Court’s decision on Section 377 will tell us whether the highest court in the land can live with deeply contradictory ideas of justice, freedom, and equality.

Yet, the process of change will now be irreversible. Just as law can manufacture intolerance, it can also create gradual social acceptance. Social attitudes may not transform overnight but Indian society only needs to look at its own history of inclusiveness. The transgender community was, until the advent of colonialism, a respected section of society. The Hindu Right should note that transgenders are mentioned in the Ramayana, and that it is Ram who gives them the power to bless important occasions such as childbirth and marriage. Also, Shiva’s Ardhanarishwar form is well-known and widely worshipped.

The role of the British

The tradition is not limited to Hinduism alone. Islamic, Jain and other cultures have also included the transgender community and other sexual minorities. The famous Sufi saint, Bulle Shah, dressed as a woman to please his master and often danced with eunuchs. Yet all this changed when India was colonised. The Indian Penal Code enacted by the British recognised only two genders, creating a binary that never existed.

Over time, these constructs were absorbed in Indian society. The community has since faced extreme forms of violence for not conforming to socially dictated gender identities. This violence often happens within families and communities, where transgenders face abuse, discrimination, disinheritance and abandonment. This judgment will hopefully begin to alter this in some measure.

Despite its many flaws and the incremental nature of this change, this is a moment of celebration not just for India’s transgender community or its sexual minorities but for all minorities. In a deeply fractured democracy, the Court has safeguarded the right to individual choice and freedom. It is reassuring for every Indian that despite our debasing politics, justice, equality and individual liberty — ideas that define India — will be safeguarded, and the right to choose our identity will go beyond the binary.

(Chapal Mehra in an independent New Delhi-based writer.) 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014 prophecy: Pluralism, not secularism, is India’s destiny

Indeed, India a model of Pluralistic Democracy rather than the Secular democracy. The Author, Jaganathan has penned it very well.

As Doctors, Engineers and other contribute to America, as a social scientist, my contribution to America is India's pluralistic ethos through many sites on pluralism. 


2014 prophecy: Pluralism, not secularism, is India’s destiny
url- http://www.firstpost.com/india/2014-prophecy-pluralism-not-secularism-is-indias-destiny-1487407.html?utm_source=ref_article


I have written a number of articles on the topic, a few are listed here

1. http://mikeghouseforindia.blogspot.com/2011/08/happy-independence-day-india.html
 
Personally about me
 
Mike Ghouse
 

Indian Movie on Pluralism - Dekh Tamasha Dekh

INDIAN MOVIE ON PLURALISM - DEKH TAMASHA DEKH
url- http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/04/indian-movie-on-pluralism-dekh-tamasha.html

It is a dream come true movie for me.

I hope the following piece on the movie reflects the actual movie, if it does, I am happy to see a movie which will develop understanding between the two people of the subcontinent in conflict; Hindus, Muslims and Christians.  All of them have been played around by the damned politicians to their advantage.

 We all need to face things squarely in the movie format and understand it, we all have to live with each other, and if we do, then  why not make the life less tensionous?

Most of the conflicts,  if not all are due to misunderstanding about each other, we must remember knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance and appreciation of another point of view.

If we can learn to respect the otherness of others and accept the God-given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

We need to create societies where no one has to live in fear of the other.

God willing, I am set to make a similar film in the American Context and shooting begins in June or July depending on funding, it will be a 60 Minutes movie and will be shot in Mulberry, Florida.


Mike Ghouse
Foundation for Pluralism

# # #

Dekh Tamasha Dekh
Cast: Vinay Jain, Satish Kaushik and Tanvi Azmi
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan
Rating: ****
- See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/movie-review-dekh-tamasha-dekh-is-an-honest-take-on-hindu-muslim-relations/article1-1209906.aspx#sthash.qBuJDFcn.dpuf

Dekh Tamasha Dekh
Cast: Vinay Jain, Satish Kaushik and Tanvi Azmi
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan
Rating: ****




Routinely, we love to sweep the truth about Hindu-Muslim relations under the carpet. Or simply sugar-coat it to make the actual volume of mutual distrust and animosity palatable to a nation steeped in escapism and self-delusion.

A still from the film Dekh Tamasha Dekh.

Dekh Tamasha Dekh (DTD), directed by theatre legend Feroz Abbas Khan (of Tumhari Amrita fame) is a jolting wake-up call for a nation swept into a slumberous silence by the status quo. Put simply, we don't want to face the reality about the friction that simmers just under the surface among the two communities.


DTD is perhaps the first Hindi film which ventures into the vista of vitriolic without the fear of offending the more refined sections of the audience who may not be comfortable watching the vanguards and trouble-makers of the two communities addressing each other with the harshest of epithets.

This is not a film about niceties. The director doesn't allow the narrative to nibble daintily at corrosive socio-political matters. Rather, the narrative chews industriously on the political issues. By using the twin missiles of satire and irony, he brings into a play a kind of pinned-down provocativeness into the plot whereby the characters become real and representational simultaneously.

Miraculously, the film is both a parable and a topical comment on communal relations. This is a film that takes burning headlines and converts them into slices of incriminating illustration on man and the beast within. The smell of authenticity pervades the destiny of the political-driven nefariously motivated characters.

This is literary cinema. The characters and their situations unfold like chapters from an epic novel. This is Govind Nihalani's "Tamas" without the recognisable punctuation marks. The director authors the characters' destiny in scenes that are written like chapters. Amazingly, the context of the scenes are explained to the audience without the crutches of a voice-over.

Take that lengthy but hilarious sequence where the newspaper editor Mutha Seth (Satish Kaushik, slimy and Machiavellian as can be) summons the newspaper editor and treats him like a pet dog - literally barking orders to both the canine and the editor at the same time. Elsewhere, a wife (Tanvi Azmi, eloquence personified) grieve for her dead husband while women of the neighbourhood join in to while away their time while waiting for the taps to supply water.

A mother-daughter sequence towards the end featuring the lyrical Tanvi Azmi and her on-screen daughter (Apoorva Arora) reminds us that political cinema need not be dry and emotionless. As the characters shed their humanism, the plot gathers a sense of tragic redemption that we sense waiting around the corner.

It's the kingdom of the quirky and the tragic. Khan portrays a world that is both bizarre and poignant.

Images of violence and retribution coalesce in Khan's world, which is replete with stark visuals of the town-people bickering bitterly over a non-issue that's been blown out of all proportions by trouble-makers.

DTD is a work of many contradictory forces pulling and tugging at the plot as it stretches out in a saga of valour and vitality, caprice and cowardice. Remarkably, the narrative makes no use of extraneous artificial sounds to create a heightened drama.

The natural sounds that pervade the soundtrack add to an eerie sense of a world of fearsome anxieties. Indeed, sound designer Baylon Fonseca is one of the heroes of this film. Sreekar Prasad edits the material to retain the rawness of mood without sacrificing the smoothness of narration. Hemant Chaturvedi's cinematography sweeps across the town prowling to peep into homes and hearts that are a flame with an anxious identity crisis.

Rarely does cinema take us so deep into the socio-political dynamics of communal disharmony. Honest to the core, brutal, ironical and disturbing, the director's world of Hindu-Muslim strife is cluttered with a compelling tension that erupts into welters of well-aimed social comment.

What we come away with is a film committed to mirroring the murk and mirth of organized religion and a disorganized system of governance which plays a game of appeasement with religious communities, setting off one group of people against another.

Stark, real, disturbing, ironical, funny and gripping, Dekh Tamasha Dekh is the film Govind Nihalani would have made if only he had the freedom to call a spade a spade. Not all the truth of Khan's cinema is palatable or even fully intelligible. But there is little here that doesn't provide food for thought.

This is a film that addresses itself to ideas and thoughts buried away from human consideration. We don't want to consider to what depth human nature can fall if pushed against a dirty wall. To record the dirt on the wall and the blood on the floor with such clarity and honesty is not within the creative powers of every filmmaker.


This is an important treatise of our times, and it should not be missed by any Indian.
- See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/movie-review-dekh-tamasha-dekh-is-an-honest-take-on-hindu-muslim-relations/article1-1209906.aspx
 
Dekh Tamasha Dekh
Cast: Vinay Jain, Satish Kaushik and Tanvi Azmi
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan
Rating: ****

Routinely, we love to sweep the truth about Hindu-Muslim relations under the carpet. Or simply sugar-coat it to make the actual volume of mutual distrust and animosity palatable to a nation steeped in escapism and self-delusion.

Dekh Tamasha Dekh (DTD), directed by theatre legend Feroz Abbas Khan (of Tumhari Amrita fame) is a jolting wake-up call for a nation swept into a slumberous silence by the status quo. Put simply, we don't want to face the reality about the friction that simmers just under the surface among the two communities.
DTD is perhaps the first Hindi film which ventures into the vista of vitriolic without the fear of offending the more refined sections of the audience who may not be comfortable watching the vanguards and trouble-makers of the two communities addressing each other with the harshest of epithets.
This is not a film about niceties. The director doesn't allow the narrative to nibble daintily at corrosive socio-political matters. Rather, the narrative chews industriously on the political issues. By using the twin missiles of satire and irony, he brings into a play a kind of pinned-down provocativeness into the plot whereby the characters become real and representational simultaneously.
Miraculously, the film is both a parable and a topical comment on communal relations. This is a film that takes burning headlines and converts them into slices of incriminating illustration on man and the beast within. The smell of authenticity pervades the destiny of the political-driven nefariously motivated characters.
This is literary cinema. The characters and their situations unfold like chapters from an epic novel. This is Govind Nihalani's "Tamas" without the recognisable punctuation marks. The director authors the characters' destiny in scenes that are written like chapters. Amazingly, the context of the scenes are explained to the audience without the crutches of a voice-over.
Take that lengthy but hilarious sequence where the newspaper editor Mutha Seth (Satish Kaushik, slimy and Machiavellian as can be) summons the newspaper editor and treats him like a pet dog - literally barking orders to both the canine and the editor at the same time. Elsewhere, a wife (Tanvi Azmi, eloquence personified) grieve for her dead husband while women of the neighbourhood join in to while away their time while waiting for the taps to supply water.
A mother-daughter sequence towards the end featuring the lyrical Tanvi Azmi and her on-screen daughter (Apoorva Arora) reminds us that political cinema need not be dry and emotionless. As the characters shed their humanism, the plot gathers a sense of tragic redemption that we sense waiting around the corner.
It's the kingdom of the quirky and the tragic. Khan portrays a world that is both bizarre and poignant.
Images of violence and retribution coalesce in Khan's world, which is replete with stark visuals of the town-people bickering bitterly over a non-issue that's been blown out of all proportions by trouble-makers.
DTD is a work of many contradictory forces pulling and tugging at the plot as it stretches out in a saga of valour and vitality, caprice and cowardice. Remarkably, the narrative makes no use of extraneous artificial sounds to create a heightened drama.
The natural sounds that pervade the soundtrack add to an eerie sense of a world of fearsome anxieties. Indeed, sound designer Baylon Fonseca is one of the heroes of this film. Sreekar Prasad edits the material to retain the rawness of mood without sacrificing the smoothness of narration. Hemant Chaturvedi's cinematography sweeps across the town prowling to peep into homes and hearts that are a flame with an anxious identity crisis.
Rarely does cinema take us so deep into the socio-political dynamics of communal disharmony. Honest to the core, brutal, ironical and disturbing, the director's world of Hindu-Muslim strife is cluttered with a compelling tension that erupts into welters of well-aimed social comment.
What we come away with is a film committed to mirroring the murk and mirth of organized religion and a disorganized system of governance which plays a game of appeasement with religious communities, setting off one group of people against another.
Stark, real, disturbing, ironical, funny and gripping, Dekh Tamasha Dekh is the film Govind Nihalani would have made if only he had the freedom to call a spade a spade. Not all the truth of Khan's cinema is palatable or even fully intelligible. But there is little here that doesn't provide food for thought.
This is a film that addresses itself to ideas and thoughts buried away from human consideration. We don't want to consider to what depth human nature can fall if pushed against a dirty wall. To record the dirt on the wall and the blood on the floor with such clarity and honesty is not within the creative powers of every filmmaker.
This is an important treatise of our times, and it should not be missed by any Indian.
- See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/movie-review-dekh-tamasha-dekh-is-an-honest-take-on-hindu-muslim-relations/article1-1209906.aspx#sthash.qBuJDFcn.dpuf
Dekh Tamasha Dekh
Cast: Vinay Jain, Satish Kaushik and Tanvi Azmi
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan
Rating: ****

Routinely, we love to sweep the truth about Hindu-Muslim relations under the carpet. Or simply sugar-coat it to make the actual volume of mutual distrust and animosity palatable to a nation steeped in escapism and self-delusion.

Dekh Tamasha Dekh (DTD), directed by theatre legend Feroz Abbas Khan (of Tumhari Amrita fame) is a jolting wake-up call for a nation swept into a slumberous silence by the status quo. Put simply, we don't want to face the reality about the friction that simmers just under the surface among the two communities.
DTD is perhaps the first Hindi film which ventures into the vista of vitriolic without the fear of offending the more refined sections of the audience who may not be comfortable watching the vanguards and trouble-makers of the two communities addressing each other with the harshest of epithets.
This is not a film about niceties. The director doesn't allow the narrative to nibble daintily at corrosive socio-political matters. Rather, the narrative chews industriously on the political issues. By using the twin missiles of satire and irony, he brings into a play a kind of pinned-down provocativeness into the plot whereby the characters become real and representational simultaneously.
Miraculously, the film is both a parable and a topical comment on communal relations. This is a film that takes burning headlines and converts them into slices of incriminating illustration on man and the beast within. The smell of authenticity pervades the destiny of the political-driven nefariously motivated characters.
This is literary cinema. The characters and their situations unfold like chapters from an epic novel. This is Govind Nihalani's "Tamas" without the recognisable punctuation marks. The director authors the characters' destiny in scenes that are written like chapters. Amazingly, the context of the scenes are explained to the audience without the crutches of a voice-over.
Take that lengthy but hilarious sequence where the newspaper editor Mutha Seth (Satish Kaushik, slimy and Machiavellian as can be) summons the newspaper editor and treats him like a pet dog - literally barking orders to both the canine and the editor at the same time. Elsewhere, a wife (Tanvi Azmi, eloquence personified) grieve for her dead husband while women of the neighbourhood join in to while away their time while waiting for the taps to supply water.
A mother-daughter sequence towards the end featuring the lyrical Tanvi Azmi and her on-screen daughter (Apoorva Arora) reminds us that political cinema need not be dry and emotionless. As the characters shed their humanism, the plot gathers a sense of tragic redemption that we sense waiting around the corner.
It's the kingdom of the quirky and the tragic. Khan portrays a world that is both bizarre and poignant.
Images of violence and retribution coalesce in Khan's world, which is replete with stark visuals of the town-people bickering bitterly over a non-issue that's been blown out of all proportions by trouble-makers.
DTD is a work of many contradictory forces pulling and tugging at the plot as it stretches out in a saga of valour and vitality, caprice and cowardice. Remarkably, the narrative makes no use of extraneous artificial sounds to create a heightened drama.
The natural sounds that pervade the soundtrack add to an eerie sense of a world of fearsome anxieties. Indeed, sound designer Baylon Fonseca is one of the heroes of this film. Sreekar Prasad edits the material to retain the rawness of mood without sacrificing the smoothness of narration. Hemant Chaturvedi's cinematography sweeps across the town prowling to peep into homes and hearts that are a flame with an anxious identity crisis.
Rarely does cinema take us so deep into the socio-political dynamics of communal disharmony. Honest to the core, brutal, ironical and disturbing, the director's world of Hindu-Muslim strife is cluttered with a compelling tension that erupts into welters of well-aimed social comment.
What we come away with is a film committed to mirroring the murk and mirth of organized religion and a disorganized system of governance which plays a game of appeasement with religious communities, setting off one group of people against another.
Stark, real, disturbing, ironical, funny and gripping, Dekh Tamasha Dekh is the film Govind Nihalani would have made if only he had the freedom to call a spade a spade. Not all the truth of Khan's cinema is palatable or even fully intelligible. But there is little here that doesn't provide food for thought.
This is a film that addresses itself to ideas and thoughts buried away from human consideration. We don't want to consider to what depth human nature can fall if pushed against a dirty wall. To record the dirt on the wall and the blood on the floor with such clarity and honesty is not within the creative powers of every filmmaker.
This is an important treatise of our times, and it should not be missed by any Indian.
- See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/movie-review-dekh-tamasha-dekh-is-an-honest-take-on-hindu-muslim-relations/article1-1209906.aspx#sthash.qBuJDFcn.dpuf
Dekh Tamasha Dekh
Cast: Vinay Jain, Satish Kaushik and Tanvi Azmi
Director: Feroz Abbas Khan
Rating: ****

Routinely, we love to sweep the truth about Hindu-Muslim relations under the carpet. Or simply sugar-coat it to make the actual volume of mutual distrust and animosity palatable to a nation steeped in escapism and self-delusion.

Dekh Tamasha Dekh (DTD), directed by theatre legend Feroz Abbas Khan (of Tumhari Amrita fame) is a jolting wake-up call for a nation swept into a slumberous silence by the status quo. Put simply, we don't want to face the reality about the friction that simmers just under the surface among the two communities.
DTD is perhaps the first Hindi film which ventures into the vista of vitriolic without the fear of offending the more refined sections of the audience who may not be comfortable watching the vanguards and trouble-makers of the two communities addressing each other with the harshest of epithets.
This is not a film about niceties. The director doesn't allow the narrative to nibble daintily at corrosive socio-political matters. Rather, the narrative chews industriously on the political issues. By using the twin missiles of satire and irony, he brings into a play a kind of pinned-down provocativeness into the plot whereby the characters become real and representational simultaneously.
Miraculously, the film is both a parable and a topical comment on communal relations. This is a film that takes burning headlines and converts them into slices of incriminating illustration on man and the beast within. The smell of authenticity pervades the destiny of the political-driven nefariously motivated characters.
This is literary cinema. The characters and their situations unfold like chapters from an epic novel. This is Govind Nihalani's "Tamas" without the recognisable punctuation marks. The director authors the characters' destiny in scenes that are written like chapters. Amazingly, the context of the scenes are explained to the audience without the crutches of a voice-over.
Take that lengthy but hilarious sequence where the newspaper editor Mutha Seth (Satish Kaushik, slimy and Machiavellian as can be) summons the newspaper editor and treats him like a pet dog - literally barking orders to both the canine and the editor at the same time. Elsewhere, a wife (Tanvi Azmi, eloquence personified) grieve for her dead husband while women of the neighbourhood join in to while away their time while waiting for the taps to supply water.
A mother-daughter sequence towards the end featuring the lyrical Tanvi Azmi and her on-screen daughter (Apoorva Arora) reminds us that political cinema need not be dry and emotionless. As the characters shed their humanism, the plot gathers a sense of tragic redemption that we sense waiting around the corner.
It's the kingdom of the quirky and the tragic. Khan portrays a world that is both bizarre and poignant.
Images of violence and retribution coalesce in Khan's world, which is replete with stark visuals of the town-people bickering bitterly over a non-issue that's been blown out of all proportions by trouble-makers.
DTD is a work of many contradictory forces pulling and tugging at the plot as it stretches out in a saga of valour and vitality, caprice and cowardice. Remarkably, the narrative makes no use of extraneous artificial sounds to create a heightened drama.
The natural sounds that pervade the soundtrack add to an eerie sense of a world of fearsome anxieties. Indeed, sound designer Baylon Fonseca is one of the heroes of this film. Sreekar Prasad edits the material to retain the rawness of mood without sacrificing the smoothness of narration. Hemant Chaturvedi's cinematography sweeps across the town prowling to peep into homes and hearts that are a flame with an anxious identity crisis.
Rarely does cinema take us so deep into the socio-political dynamics of communal disharmony. Honest to the core, brutal, ironical and disturbing, the director's world of Hindu-Muslim strife is cluttered with a compelling tension that erupts into welters of well-aimed social comment.
What we come away with is a film committed to mirroring the murk and mirth of organized religion and a disorganized system of governance which plays a game of appeasement with religious communities, setting off one group of people against another.
Stark, real, disturbing, ironical, funny and gripping, Dekh Tamasha Dekh is the film Govind Nihalani would have made if only he had the freedom to call a spade a spade. Not all the truth of Khan's cinema is palatable or even fully intelligible. But there is little here that doesn't provide food for thought.
This is a film that addresses itself to ideas and thoughts buried away from human consideration. We don't want to consider to what depth human nature can fall if pushed against a dirty wall. To record the dirt on the wall and the blood on the floor with such clarity and honesty is not within the creative powers of every filmmaker.
This is an important treatise of our times, and it should not be missed by any Indian.
- See more at: http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/movie-review-dekh-tamasha-dekh-is-an-honest-take-on-hindu-muslim-relations/article1-1209906.aspx#sthash.qBuJDFcn.dpuf

Hot Tribeca Trailer: ‘Of Many,’ Chelsea Clinton-Produced Doc On Muslim-Jewish Relations

Glad to see this film
Mike Ghouse

Chelsea Clinton Jewish Muslim documentary 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JJ1MFPf0L44
 
EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea Clinton makes her filmmaking debut this month at the Tribeca Film Festival with interfaith docu short Of Many, directed by NYU professor Linda G. Mills. The 34-minute film tracks the story of orthodox Rabbi Yehuda Sarna and Imam Khalid Latif, two NYU chaplains who formed an unexpected collaboration to bring their respective Jewish and Muslim communities together in a post-9/11 New York. Mills, Clinton, Sarna, and Latif co-founded NYU’s Of Many Institute in 2012 to foster friendship and understanding between students of different faiths. The film tracks both chaplains’ efforts to inspire their students to dialogue, pray, and volunteer for disaster relief together in spite of their religious differences. Pic debuts April 17 at Tribeca and has already screened for buyers, with Brigade’s Adam Kersh handling sales. Check out the trailer:

Political Pluralism: How Government Can Support Conflicting Religious Beliefs

Dr. Stronks, "answer is "political pluralism," a theory and practice that respects the rights of people with different worldviews to live together without coercion. In addition to protecting freedom of the soul, political pluralism sees the role of government as providing laws that treat everyone equally and without discrimination." Indeed, we at the Foundation for Pluralism have been defining it as "respecting the otherness of others."

Mike Ghouse
Courtesy: Huffington Post
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When World Vision USA announced three weeks ago that it would begin hiring Christians in same-sex marriages, the conservative reaction was strong and swift. Individual donors jammed the call center's phone lines, and within two days, 10,000 poor children had lost their sponsors. The right-wing Family Research Council blasted the organization's decision, as did evangelist Franklin Graham, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention and others.

Just 48 hours after the announcement, World Vision reversed its decision. Its president, Richard Stearns, acknowledged the uproar the new policy had caused and asked forgiveness for the "mistake." Over the next several days, criticism of World Vision's reversal began sprouting. The online advocacy group Faithful America organized a petition calling for the two Google executives on World Vision's board of directors to resign. After 17,000 signatures and a spate of publicity, one of them did.

And then a professor at Whitworth University, a Presbyterian school in Spokane, Washington, located near World Vision's headquarters, wrote a public letter decrying its change of heart. "We rejoiced in the initial announcement and we grieve the reversal," the letter says. It continues:
Christians have worked together across their differences on a wide variety of issues, and they should continue to do so when a mission transcending narrow doctrinal matters is at stake. ... we call on Christian institutions to employ LGBT brothers and sisters in Christ who help further the mission of their institutions.
Julia Stronks is the professor who wrote the letter. She was thrilled when World Vision made its initial decision. "Here was a faith-based institution showing leadership on how to treat gay people with justice," she said in an interview for this column. "I was brokenhearted when they reversed their decision." Stronks wrote down her reflections, shared them with some friends who sent her words to their friends -- and thus the public letter was born, gathering more than 350 signatures in less than a week.

In addition to having a Ph.D. in political science, Stronks has a law degree and is keenly interested in how government should accommodate the conflicting religious and moral beliefs of its citizens, as well as how Christians should live in a complicated world. Her answer is "political pluralism," a theory and practice that respects the rights of people with different worldviews to live together without coercion. In addition to protecting freedom of the soul, political pluralism sees the role of government as providing laws that treat everyone equally and without discrimination.

Political pluralism is very different from the credo of many Christian conservatives who are certain that their particular religious beliefs reflect God's truth and that the role of government is to pass laws that support these beliefs.

Not so, say political pluralists, who point out that the job of government is not to elevate one religious belief system over another. Rather, it is to protect a diversity of beliefs and worldviews -- including those of agnostics, atheists, secular humanists and others -- so that everyone has the freedom to follow his or her conscience and determine how to live.

Anything less is coercion, not to mention unconstitutional. According to scholars such as Stronks, it is unbiblical too. "Jesus never used government as a tool forcing people how to live," she said. "He used stories, persuasion, and encouragement."

During the interview, Stronks described the steps that led her to support marriage equality. "What moved me was education," she said. "Learning more about biology and sexuality and knowing gay Christians." She also decided to read the Bible from cover to cover and came across a slew of texts that are understood far differently today than when they were written. As for marriage as a sacrament between a man and a woman, by the time Stronks finished Genesis -- the first book in the Bible -- she had read about concubines, incest, rape and more. She said:
It's important to understand texts in their historical context. Many of the biblical passages that seem to condemn homosexuality are actually about abuse and coercion, rather than equal, loving relationships.
The impact of World Vision's decision is far from over. For one thing, its public refusal to hire people in same-sex marriages opens it up to discrimination lawsuits. The decision also puts the organization at odds with denominational partners, a number of whom are increasingly voicing support for marriage equality. Beyond that, the decision reflects a broader debate on religious liberty, which includes whether an employer's religious beliefs should trump the human rights of others.

From contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act to whether business owners can turn away lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or LGBT, customers, the public debate is usually framed as liberals versus conservatives, or secular people versus religious ones. But such framing is limiting because it ignores the philosophical and religious principles that lead Orthodox Christians such as Stronks to support LGBT equality.

Christians who practice political pluralism -- what Stronks calls a "theology of citizenship for a complicated world" -- have something to contribute to the debate of what is appropriate religious expression in a diverse society. Their commitment to their own faith and to the rights of others to believe differently can help find political and legal solutions that support deeply authentic religious expression, as well as the freedom not to be pressured into beliefs that are not one's own.
Follow Sally Steenland on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ssteenland

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A new Easter Tradition: Eggs with a Turkish Flavor

URL - http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-new-easter-tradition-eggs-with.html

20 Fascinating pictures of Eggs
Artist:  World-renowned artist Haydar Hatemi
By: Dr. Lachin Hatemi


A fascination with eggs and their perfect form inspired Peter Carl Fabergé, who was a renowned jeweler and goldsmith to the Russian Imperial Court. Fabergé created a total of 50 Imperial Easter Eggs for Russian emperors from 1885 to 1917, which became an Easter tradition in the Russian Imperial Court. When Russian Revolution of 1918 dethroned the Russian Czar, it also ended the storied Faberge tradition.

World-renowned artist Haydar Hatemi always wanted to create his own egg collection and bring the Faberge tradition back to life. While working on an egg collection for the Shah of Iran and Empress Farah Diba Pahlavi, Hatemi’s project prematurely ended, just like Faberge’s, due to a revolution. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 sent Iran into turmoil, and the Shah of Iran was forced to leave his country. A few years later, Hatemi left Iran himself with his family, but he never forgot about his dream.

Hatemi’s popularity continued to grow in his new adopted homeland of Turkey, where he re-established his atelier in 1983.  He was fascinated with the Ottoman Empire with his exuberance and glamour. After many years of creating Ottoman inspired art, Hatemi decided to fulfill his longtime dream of creating an egg collection, which became the inspiration for the “Ottoman Empire Collection.” Hatemi chose ostrich eggs as his medium.

When he first encountered a raw ostrich egg, Haydar recognized it as an ideal medium for his art. An ostrich eggs, with its porcelain-like qualities and texture, was a perfect choice. To create these precious eggs, Hatemi invented a special process to prepare the eggs for paintings. Each egg, an artistic tour de force, took two months or more to make.

The series of lavish Easter eggs created by Hatemi for his royal clientele between 2004 and 2012 is regarded as one of the artist’s most creative projects. These eggs are also considered as some of the latest great commissions of objects d’art in Middle East and Turkey. Haydar Hatemi created the Ottoman Sultans’ collection to commemorate one of the longest lasting and powerful dynasties of our near history. Thirty-six sultans who were all descendant of the Othman, the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty, led the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman period, particularly during the 16th and 17th centuries, was marked by geopolitical dominance and cultural prowess, during which the sultans claimed the spiritual leadership of the Muslim world, before the empire’s slow decline culminated in its collapse during World War I.

Now, as Turkey emerges as a leader in the Middle East, its history is more appreciated. The Ottoman Collection is created for admirers of Ottoman history and legacy. Hatemi describes the Sultan series as a dream project and attributes his preoccupation with the Ottomans for his long residencies in Istanbul and Bursa, both of which served as capital cities of the dynasty throughout its long history.
























Hatemi’s future plans include a new series depicting the Ottoman queens, which will commemorate the powerful women of the Ottoman Empire. We look forward to see Hatemi’s next egg collection.
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Happy Easter - a Muslim's Easter


Good Friday is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Black Friday,or Easter Friday.
This is my third year of observing lent for nearly 40 days and would end on Easter. I hope to attend the Easter Mass somewhere in Dallas or where some of my friends attend. Why do I observe Lent?


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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Happy Passover

HAPPY PASSOVER

Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the story of the Exodus, when Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt.  It is celebrated for seven or eight days and one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.


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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest onSean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.

Shun Politics of Separatism

URL - http://theghousediary.blogspot.com/2014/04/shun-politics-of-separatism.html

Tufail Ahmed's article is worth reading to understand the Muslim dilemma; I am pleased to extract a few thoughtful sentences and phrases for us to ponder.

"Muslim leaders failed to comprehend a kind of politics that could help Muslims see their future in togetherness with the country's mainstream."

Indeed, this is the sentiment of many a Muslims who feel responsible for the plight of Muslims and want to do something about it. Dr. AbuSaleh Shariff emphasized a point about it in the annual meeting of US India Policy Institute in Houston.   He compared the Quota system and its superfluity - West Bengal has some 25% of Muslims but have less than 2% of jobs in the state, Kerala has a higher quota of some 17% for Muslims, but only 9% is utilized (Figures need to be checked).  He questioned the need for Quota.  Most likely the same Muslims would have gotten the same jobs without quota.

We don't need quota, what we need is proportionate representation that is fair and equitable with all other communities. It will remove the false rhetoric of Minority appeasement - hell, there is no appeasement then why have it? Indeed, we need to be a part of the main stream and don't need any special treatment, but a fair and just treatment on par with every Indian.

"After the 1857 war in which the two communities fought unitedly against the British, the Muslim leadership should have logically worked together with Hindus."

The three reasons Tufail Ahmed has proffered do make sense. It is just not the Muslim voters who have been taken for granted but others have experienced the same depravity; false promises!  The Ram Mandir issue is a clear vote bank issue to flame the fundamentalists among Hindu community, and promises made to them were not delivered either.  It's an equal opportunity cheating by politicians.

One of the many ways to change this behavior of politicians is demanding that they make a few promises that they can keep, and we need to ask how they would do it.

Fear needs to go! We are afraid to demand, or ask questions. We have got to remember, they are in the seat because of us, each one of us giving them the vote of confidence.

"As the Indian republic searches for maturity in its weaknesses, India's mainstream too longs for Muslims to stop treating themselves as minorities."

What is good for Muslims has got to be good for Hindus and all other Indians and vice versa, the good will not last if it benefits one and not the others.

I would not even use the word Main Stream - we all should be in the same stream, all of us have the same aspirations, issues, problems and dreams, and we need not create separate dreams, but have a common dream, and it will help us build that energy, together we can achieve that dream. 

"There is another concern: if Muslims shun some parties instead of having them to moderate their conduct by joining them, they will alienate themselves significantly, more so if it's a party with countrywide presence. Muslims must embrace all parties, a relevant message conveyed through Akbar's political choice."

This is the idea we need to work on. I went on the hate list of a few Muslims, when I suggested the call of the then PM Vajpayee to join BJP. Of course I am on the hate list of a few Hindus as well for not praising Modi.  If we want a change that is good for all including us, we need to be part of the group and bring about solutions. We cannot alienate any party and let them deprive us of participation.

In the end I want to share the power of belonging.

In February 2013, Sean Hannity called me to join in a retreat at Fox News in New York. Perhaps, I was the only one who was not a right winger in that group. Congressman Peter King, Congressman Gohmert, Ambassador John Bolton, Pamela Geller… were among the 25.  It was my turn to be on the stage with Hannity, I am going to call Brother Hannity for a purpose. He said, " You are the only Muslim friend I have,  and I promise you this, I will not say Muslim Terrorists, but instead say, Terrorists among Muslims" I was literally in tears… this was the change I was looking for, I did put up with humility in the past and some abuse, but it was worth it. Ever since, I became a fan of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) I have believed in his approach to building better societies; his formula; conflict mitigation and goodwill nurturence. 

What happened after that? Within a few months the Boston Marathon bombings took place… and Congressman Peter King said to the media "96% of Muslims are fine, it is the 4% we need to watch" - that was a 180 degree turnaround from a year before when he called Muslims as Terrorists… Not only Peter King, but there was another one from the retreat who was influenced by Hannity's promise to me.  I was cursed by a few Muslims, and Cair's Ibrahim Hooper screamed at me and "told" me not to go on Hannity. How short sighted was he?  Without engagement we cannot change a thing. I am a Moderate Republican, and will remain one, despite not finding any company in the party, but walking away from it gives them carte Blanche.

I am glad to see Akbar join the BJP, who knows he may help the party tone down some extreme rhetoric.
I was also happy to hear from Latafat Hussain, a Muslim friend of Vajpayee in Houston who was able to see the soft side of Vajpayee. 

I hope we question our prejudices on issues and demand ourselves to see from another point of view.  If we can do that, then we can have the courage to ask others to do the same.

Thanks Tufail for this piece.


Shun Politics of Separatism

Published: 08th April 2014 06:00 AM


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Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism
, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in Standing up for others and a book with the same title is coming up. Mike has a strong presence on national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to the Texas Faith Column at Dallas Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work through many links.